“Elephant In The Room” art installation brings dialogue of racism to Westlake Center

On Saturday, August 8th, activists from the Black Lives Matter movement seized an opportunity to disrupt the status quo and interrupted a speech being given by Bernie Sanders. During their time on the microphone, they criticized liberal Seattle for hiding it’s racism. In what seems a partial response to the interruption, activists with the Localize This! Action Camp in coordination with the Backbone Campaign, brought a 15ft inflatable elephant covered with a banner reading “RACISM”, living room furniture complete with coffee table and literature on racism, and a flip board with scenes depicting institutionalized and systemic racism and the intersections of education and climate change. They also handed out pamphlets and engaged in conversation anyone willing to discuss the topic of racism. Scans of the pamphlets can be found below.

Scan of the pamphlet

From the Facebook event page…

You are invited to participate in a public interactive art installation to expose racism as the “elephant in the room”. This event will take place on Monday beginning at 11:00 am at Westlake Park in Seattle.

We are a collection of activists who are from the Pacific Northwest and around the country. We created this installation in collaboration with the Backbone Campaign Localize This Action Camp.

We are responding to recent events of racism and to a request from people of color. We have been asked to educate ourselves in order to see racism, then take actions to end racism.

As a group, we are predominantly white activists who are looking inwards and reaching out to our peers to join us in this action. We are challenging ourselves and others to commit to taking one concrete step towards racial justice and to share our challenge.” – https://www.facebook.com/events/1475893819399252/

Black Lives Matter Activists in Seattle March On One Year Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death

Hundreds gathered at Seattle Central College in Seattle to march in solidarity with Black Lives Matter demonstrations occurring around the country in memory of Michael Brown on the one year anniversary of his death. After listening to several speakers the march proceeded through Capitol Hill, the Central District, and back, blocking intersections as those who felt compelled to speak did so. The first stop along the march route was the Seattle Police Department East Precinct at 12th and Pine where SPD blocked the sidewalk around the building and SPD vehicles parked on the street. Several more intersections were encircled along the route and people of color were encouraged to take the megaphone and express their beliefs and concerns. While SPD maintained a heavy presence on bicycles and following the demonstration in vehicles, no arrests were made.

Bernie Sanders Draws Crowd of Over 15,000 Supporters at Seattle Election Rally

As the sun warmed the Alaskan Airlines Center at UW, 12,000 people packed themselves into the warm venue and 3,000 listened outside as Bernie Sanders, presidential candidate and Vermont Senator took the stage. He was warmly received by the audience and spoke for over an hour on issues ranging from economic injustice, racial inequality, jobs and climate change. He also spoke at length on issues of reforming Wall Street and getting money out of politics. Sanders also made vows to fight for single payer, universal health care and free four year higher education.

More about Bernie Sanders can be found at… https://berniesanders.com/

Bernie Sanders Cedes the Stage To Activists Fighting For Black Lives

An estimated 3,000 people gathered in Westlake Park on Saturday, August 8th, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th anniversary of Medicare. Speakers included the president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP Gerald Hankerson, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, Congressional Representative Adam Smith, WA State Senator Pramila Jayapal, and Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

As Bernie Sanders took the stage, two activists proceeded to also take the stage. After confronting Bernie Sanders and the organizers, the activists were given the microphone and allowed to speak. The two women, affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement in Seattle, called for four and a half minutes of silence to reflect on the death of Michael Brown, on the eve of the one year anniversary of his death. Boo’s and jeers rained down on the activists for interrupting Bernie Sanders while some in the crowd could be heard shouting “let her speak!”. As the crowd continued shouting, the activists replied they would shut the event down if they were not heard. The activists welcomed Sanders to Seattle and explained the issues they were fighting for. At the end of the moment of silence, the microphone was handed to Bernie Sanders, but he handed it back to the organizers and refused to speak. Sanders then left the stage and entered the crowd to shake hands. Sanders spoke at an election event that drew 12,000+ at the University of Washington later that evening.

The Bernie Sanders website was adjusted in the early hours of August 9th to reflect his stance on the issue of racial justice. The addition can be found here…https://berniesanders.com/issues/racial-justice/

Additional articles from women of color can be found here…

http://seattleglobalist.com/2015/08/09/bernie-sanders-black-lives-matter-race-divide-in-seattle/40394

and here…

http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/08/09/22671957/guest-editorial-why-saturdays-bernie-sanders-rally-left-me-feeling-heartbroken

Activists Stage “Die In” In Protest Of Oil Trains At Safeco Field

As the gates to Safeco Field opened for the Mariners vs. Angels game, thousands of fans streamed past a rally held near Century Link Field in protest of oil trains that pass the stadiums on a daily basis. Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant spoke at the rally and joined the demonstration as they marched from Century Link to Safeco in a silent procession holding photos and names of the 47 people who died in Lac-Mégantic Quebec during an oil train explosion in 2013.

Safeco Field and Century Link Field both sit within 200 yards of a rail line that sees several trains pulling the same Baaken Crude that exploded in Lac-Mégantic. The same rails carry Baaken laden trains through a tunnel that sit directly beneath downtown Seattle, including the King County Administration Building, Benaroya Hall, and Pike Place Market, not to mention several hotels and businesses and the thousands of people downtown at any given moment.

From the Facebook event page…

“On July 11th at 5:30 pm at 656 Occidental Way, join us to stop oil trains in Seattle!

On July 6, 2013, an oil train exploded in Lac Megantic, Quebec, killing 47 people. Two years later, and big oil is pushing harder than ever to move more and more oil trains through North America, while oil trains keep exploding, and carbon emissions keep rising.

The new US Department of Transportation rules on oil train safety will not protect the 25 million Americans who live in the oil train blast zone, because there is NO safe way to transport extreme tar sands and Bakken crude.

Attendees please wear black. The rally will begin at 5:30PM to be followed by a processional (an 8 minute walk) to Safeco Field. We will perform a die in or silent, standing vigil in front of Safeco Field representing the 47 lives lost in the Quebec tragedy.

Please arrive by 5:15PM if you are willing to hold a sign or prop during the event. There will be music, voices from labor and front-line communities and a vision of a fossil free future.

No more exploding trains. No more Bakken oil or tar sands. Join our event on July 11th!

We will meet at 656 Occidental Ave South (next to Century Link Field parking lot).

Host Contact Info: davidperk@comcast.net or holmeskatherine@hotmail.com” – Seattle Oil Train Rally and Vigil

Workers, Activists, and Union Supporters Picket And Rally At Grand Hyatt And Olive 8 Hyatt In Seattle

More than 100 activists and union supporters joined together with Unite Here Local 8 workers and union members to picket and persuade possible occupants to boycott the Hyatt. While the majority of activists continued a picket of the Grand Hyatt, a small group broke off and began a picket at the Olive 8, a new location for demonstrations in Seattle.

From the Unite Here Local 8 press release…

“Workers and community supporters continue to support Hyatt workers in a rally and picket line in front of the Grand Hyatt Seattle. Please join us!

When: Wednesday, July 8, 4:30pm – 6:00pm

Where: Grand Hyatt Seattle, 721 Pine Street

Background:

Workers at the Grand Hyatt at the Hyatt at Olive 8 called for a boycott in August 2013, and it is still gaining momentum in the community. So far, seven customers have moved events out of the Seattle Hyatts, the most recent being Lake Washington Girls Middle School. The Middle School moved within days of their event to support workers. The city-wide convention of the Specialty Coffee Association of America has altered plans to support the boycott. In addition, over 20 state representatives and senators and over 30 non-profits and community groups have endorsed the boycott.

After years of struggling for dignity and respect on the job, workers have called for a fair process to form a union. In July of 2013, UNITE HERE and Hyatt Hotels at the corporate level reached a national agreement on such a process, which has gone forward at other Hyatts in the U.S. So far, the local owner of the Grand Hyatt Seattle and Hyatt at Olive 8 has refused to implement the agreed elections process in Seattle.”

Duwamish Respond To Federal Decision Against Tribal Recognition

Duwamish Chairperson Cecile Hansen speaks to the press and those concerned for Native rights who have gathered at the Duwamish Longhouse in Seattle to decry the Bureau of Indian Affair’s decision that the Duwamish tribe did not meet the federal guidelines for tribal recognition. While the Duwamish did receive recognition in 2001, it was since rescinded. The Duwamish were some of the first people in the Puget Sound area and Seattle’s name was take from the Chief of the Duwamish, Chief Sealth. Cecile Hansen reminded that group that “We are still here” and Ken Workman, of the Duwamish, performed Chief Seattle’s Thunder Song . Members of other tribes were in attendance and promised continued respect and recognition in addition to performing songs important to them.

From the press release…

“Immediate Release, Seattle, WA

DUWAMISH TRIBE—We Are Still Here

The Duwamish Tribe responds to the July 2nd Bureau of Indian Affairs determination against tribal recognition.

Chief Seattle’s Duwamish Tribe has never abandoned its tribal relations. We are the Duwamish Tribe that signed the Point Elliot Treaty.  We will continue to fight on.

There is ample precedence for the federal recognition of Point Elliot Treaty historic tribes in addition to the reservations–the historic Upper Skagit, Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, Samish and Snoqualmie Tribes have all been acknowledged since the 1970’s.

We find it disingenuous that the Bureau has labeled the Duwamish Tribe as a new 1925 organization in their attempt to create the scenario that we are not the continuing tribe.  The Duwamish organized under a written constitution in 1925 to be more powerful in perusing its tribal rights. The Clinton administration recognized this change as evidence of tribal continuity in its 2001 positive determination of the Duwamish Tribe.   The Clinton Administration reviewed the petition under the fundamental tenet of Federal Indian Law that statues and regulations enacted for the benefit of Indian Tribes are to be interpreted in their favor.

Does the BIA know us?  They appear to be clueless.  We will probably never get the original hard copy of this decision.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs is apparently mailing the decision to an old Burien address we have not been at for 10 years.   The BIA is ignoring the obvious–We are still here and thriving at the Duwamish Longhouse.

The following is the heartfelt statement of Duwamish Tribal Chairperson Cecile Hansen.  Cecile– a great, great, great, grandniece of Chief Seattle–has been the Duwamish Tribal Chairwoman for 40 years.

“In the eyes and mind of our people, the Duwamish Tribe does exist.  We are extremely disappointed (yet again) in the BIA’s “dehumanizing” decision to do away with our existence according to the rulings that were made in the past.

Please check the history of all Washington Tribes who sought to be recognized by the BIA since the 70’s and are now considered to be legitimate tribes.  There is room for us all.  Unfortunately, the task of conquering the process of proving our own existence has eluded the Duwamish despite our long history dating back thousands of years.  

Chief Seattle’s Duwamish people were friendly to the first pioneers and city fathers.  We sacrificed our land to make the City of Seattle a beautiful reality.  We are still waiting for our justice. 

 The Duwamish Tribe completed the first regulations and endured the long, long, long waiting period receiving (2) preliminary negative determinations over the years.  Finally, we succeeded and were recognized by the Clinton Administration in 2001, to only have it taken away by President Bush eight months later.  Under this appeal process, we have again been denied our rightful place in the history of Seattle.  Is all complete in the business of the total genocide of the Duwamish People ~ the people of Chief Sealth for whom our great city is named?

SHAME ON THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS!”

Contact:

Cecile Hansen, Duwamish Tribal Chairperson

Office Phone:  206-431-1582

Duwamish Tribe denied federal recognition, Seattle Times, July 3, 2015

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/puget-sound/duwamish-tribe-denied-federal-recognition/

BIA July 2, 2015 letter to Cecile Hansen

http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/text/idc1-030828.pdf

July 2, 2015 Summary Judgement Against the Duwamish Tribal Organization

http://www.bia.gov/cs/groups/public/documents/text/idc1-030830.pdf

2/22/2013 Motion to Remand Duwamish Petition for Reconsideration

https://turtletalk.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/dct-order-granting-hansen-motion.pdf

Duwamish Tribal Recognition Act, H. R. 2176This bill was assigned to a congressional committee on April 30, 2015, I114th CONGRESS, 1st Session

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr2176/text

Written Testimony of Michael Anderson….July 15, 2009

http://www.westseattleherald.com/sites/robinsonpapers.com/files/Testimony%20of%20M%20Anderson%20for%20%20%27Legislative%20Hearing%20on%20H%20R%20%202678%27%20copy.pdf